Faustus Essay

1017 words - 4 pages

Faustus describes Mephistopheles as a 'bewitching fiend' - to what extent do you agree?Mephistopheles varies greatly in his attitude towards Faustus, sometimes seemingly offering support and guidance while others acting in a dismissive, even disdainful manner. Throughout, Faustus is manipulated into fulfilling Mephistopheles' own goals, yet the 'bewitching fiend' succeeds in giving him the belief that he wants to do these things himself whether or not he is being guided, albeit rather forcefully, there. Nonetheless it remains to be seen if this is a reflection of the deceitfulness from the devils servant or rather the weakness and arrogance shown by Faustus.Faustus appears vulnerable and naïve upon conjuring for the first time, pathetic fallacy adding to the sombre mood, as 'gloomy shadow(s)' overcast the scene, obscuring what is about to happen, leaving the audience in the dark and instilling a sense of terror. Therefore when Mephistopheles appears as a devil it is presumably through fear that Faustus describes him as 'too ugly' such is the heightened sense of tension and feeling of the sublime he experiences. As opposed to reacting to Faustus' needs Mephistopheles immediately gains control and begins surreptitiously asserting his dominance over him, taking advantage of the fact Faustus is clearly out of his depth, and resorting to imperatives, commanding Mephistopheles to 'speak!' hinting that desperation is starting to creep in. Throughout the play it appears as though Mephistopheles is praying on Faustus' weaknesses, identifying his 'aspiring pride' as a pressure point and luring him towards the idea of becoming the 'sole king' of all the earth. Once overcome with the thought of being a 'great emperor' Faustus is obviously convinced that selling his soul is the best option he has and appears to disregard any rational logic, allowing Mephistopheles to sit back only issuing short replies like 'I will' in return to the overly ambitious notions filling Faustus' egotistical head. Faustus' lack of control is only furthered when his 'own appetite' gets the better of him leading to Mephistopheles threatening to go 'back to hell' - forcing Faustus to implore with him not to leave - furthermore signalling his reliance on him to actually carry out all his frivolous desires. The compromise of being offered 'greater things' proves too much for Faustus as passion overcomes reason, which Mephistopheles is keen to distance them from, creating stark opposition and providing further evidence that he is willing to manipulate Faustus through his vulnerabilities, regardless of what emotions this will invoke in the mere mortal himself.In addition to promise bringing 'whirlwinds, tempests, thunder and lightning' under the control of Faustus, Mephistopheles also immediately senses whenever there is slight doubt in his subject, quickly bombarding him with fantasises to 'delight his mind' and turn his attention away from any concept of repentance. This eagerness...

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